National Association of State Retirement Administrators


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that state and local governments lost an estimated 182,000 jobs in September 2020, with approximately three-quarters of the losses affecting local governments. Revisions to prior months' reports added 105,000 local government jobs and subtracted 17,000 state government jobs from the running total. September's projected decline in state and local employment reverses three consecutive months of gains, which followed three consecutive months of decline in which nearly 1.5 million jobs were lost. Since peaking in February 2020, state and local governments have shed over 1.2 million jobs, or approximately 6.1 percent of their total.

The BLS identifies approximately 18.68 million employees of state and local government as of September 2020. Local governments, which include most school districts, account for nearly three-quarters of total state and local employment, with state governments accounting for around one-quarter of the total. Overall, state and local employment accounts for approximately 13 percent of the nation's workforce.

The private sector added an estimated 877,000  jobs in September 2020.

The charts below present the relative changes in state and local government and private sector employment since 2007.

Monthly changes in state and local government
and private sector employment, 2007-2020

Monthly changes in state and local government employment, 2007-2020

Compiled by NASRA based on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data is sourced from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program, which is a monthly survey of households, businesses, and governments measuring employment, hours, and earnings estimates. The CES survey reference period is the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month. Data are published on a preliminary basis and revised twice before being finalized. 

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